Armed attackers abduct at least 80 students from school in Nigeria, 1 policeman killed

Armed gunmen killed a police officer and kidnapped at least 80 students and five teachers from a school in the northwestern Nigerian state of Kebbi.

The attack took place on the Federal Government College in the remote town of Birnin Yauri in Kebbi State on Thursday.

It is the third assault by armed gangs on a school or college in Nigeria in less than a month which have been attributed by the authorities to bandits seeking ransom payments.

Usman Aliyu, a teacher at the school, said the gunmen took more than 80 students, most of them girls.

“They killed one of the police officers, broke through the gate and went straight to the students’ classes,” he told Reuters.

A spokesman for the police in Kebbi State, Nafiu Abubakar, said one officer had been shot dead during an exchange of fire between the police and the attackers, and a student had also been shot and was receiving medical treatment.

Abubakar said security forces were searching a nearby forest for the abducted students and teachers.

Heavily armed criminal gangs, known locally as bandits, have long targeted central and northwestern states, raiding villages, stealing cattle and kidnapping for ransom.

But they have increasingly targeted schools, snatching students or schoolchildren and herding them into forest hideouts to negotiate ransom payments.

More than 700 children and students have already been kidnapped by these gangs for ransom since December 2020.